House Bill 24-1335 passes that will enforce regulations on funeral homes

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — Richard Lewis, who serves as the funeral director for both Callahan Edfast and Martins Mortuary, explained the current regulations and requirements for being a funeral home director in the state of Colorado. Surprisingly, there are no regulations or requirements in the state for this profession. This lack of oversight has led to a series of horrific cases, such as the Return to Nature Funeral Home just outside Colorado Springs, where the owners stacked almost 200 bodies, and Sunset Mesa in Montrose, which sold body parts without consent. Respected and accredited funeral homes in Colorado have had to self-regulate and hold each other accountable due to the absence of regulations.

However, legislators have now passed House Bill 24-1335 by a 57-3 vote, which would require strict logs, requirements and processes to be followed and closely monitored by the state. These requirements include chain of custody logs, meaning that any time someone comes into contact with the decedent, there must be a login with the reason stated, along with the date, time, and location.

The bill will require routine funeral home inspections at any hour, expand the Department Of Regulatory Agencies’ (DORA) ability to set new rules, make failure to respond to complaints a reason for discipline and allow DORA to suspend licenses of those who do not comply with orders after an investigation. The Senate version of this bill is still awaiting passage. If both bills pass, representatives will combine them into a cohesive final bill for Colorado. The aim of these bills is to ensure that families and their deceased loved ones are treated with respect and dignity.

Another bill in the Senate, S.B. 24-173, will also require funeral directors to be licensed, which would involve schooling or 6,500 hours of funeral services. Richard Lewis notes that other states have required this for some time, but Colorado has not had any type of licensing or background checks. House Bill 24-1335, sponsored by Rep. Matt Soper of Delta, expands and continues portions of DORA’s mortuary science code set to be repealed on July 1.

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